In the dead center of the Sunset, Noriega at 22nd Ave., sits an unassuming Pakistani restaurant, Guddu de Karahi. You'd never know from looking at it, but the chef-owner is Guddu Haider, who helmed the serially beloved Lahore Karahi in the Tenderloin until May 2012. Like the Soup Nazi decamping for Argentina, he abruptly left for Pakistan -- and now he's back, with a menu very similar to the one at his prior stint. Which is to say, you can taste the obsession with precision even if you can't isolate every last herb.
Lamb biryani, with fragrant rice as colorful as New England foliage, might have benefited from a bit more lamb but was otherwise flawlessly seasoned. And the sweet, onion-y bengan bhartha tasted like an eggplant porridge, the perfect accompaniment to the $1 plate of pillowy naan.
But it was the tandoori fish that might have been the single greatest dish I have ever eaten in an Indian or Pakistani restaurant. Lemony, spicy and smoky from the tandoor, every boundlessly complex bite from off the iron skillet was slightly different. What type of fish was it? I have no idea, only that it was as delicate as it was flavorful, and amazingly, without any fat.
Guddu de Karahi lacks a liquor license, polished service or any trace of atmosphere, but at least the self-serve chai is complimentary. Midway between the L-Taraval and the N-Judah, it'd be significant trek for most car-free diners, but making the trip is an absolute must.
Guddu de Karahi, 1501 Noriega St., 759-9088